Argentine ants harbour viruses that may threaten honey bees and other insects

September 9, 2015

From: Australian Broadcasting Corporation

by Dani Cooper, ABC Science

Photo: Three Argentine ants attacking the New Zealand native ant Monomorium antarcticum (Stephen Barnard)

The ‘Genghis Khan of the ant world’, the Argentine ant, not only invades our suburbs. Researchers have now found it carries and spreads deadly pathogens.

However, ironically it appears the invasive ant may also host the seeds of its own destruction in the form of a killer virus.

A new study of Argentine ants in New Zealand, Australia and Argentina shows they carry a previously undescribed virus that could be connected to mass population collapses of the ants in New Zealand.

The study also reveals Argentine ants Linepthema humile in New Zealand host the deformed wing virus, which is linked to the collapse of honey bee populations.

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